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MEND leader Henry Okah on hunger strike in South African prison

The trial of Nigerian militant leader in South Africa, Mr Henry Okah, may have run into stormy waters as he has reportedly refused to take his meals for about three weeks. Okah is facing terrorism-related charges, following the October 1, 2010 bomb explosion in Abuja, Nigeria, that claimed about a dozen lives. He is linked with the militant group, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which claimed responsibility for the country’s Independence Day anniversary bombing incident.

It was gathered that Okah commenced a hunger strike on April 19 to protest conditions in the prison he is being held.
He is said to have insisted that his solitary confinement in a maximum security prison meant for convicted prisoners was a violation of his rights, the constitution and correctional services procedures. The alleged MEND leader is reportedly the only awaiting trial inmate in the country held in a prison for convicted offenders and he is said to have emaciated, surviving only on water since he began the hunger strike.
No prison or correctional services official was willing to comment on Okah’s state of health when Sunday Sun contacted them on the telephone on Friday morning.

An official who spoke to our correspondent from the office of Mr Maphutuma, Head of the Medium C Prison in Johannesburg, said they were not authorised to comment and asked that we contact the office of the Area Commander, Correctional Services, Dr Ntlangeni.

A lady, who gave her name as Alicia and disclosed that she was the Area Commander’s Secretary, also refused to comment on the matter. After waiting for about five minutes on the phone as she attempted to connect her boss, she responded that he was in a meeting and that we send our enquiry by electronic mail. At the time of filing this report on Saturday, there was yet no response to the mail sent to the two email addresses she provided.


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Posted by on May 7 2011. Filed under Africa & World Politics, Latest Politics, National Politics, Niger Delta. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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